Ephesians 5:15–20 NRSV – Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 5:16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 5:19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 5:20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Summary – Paul continues giving simple and direct commands for Christian behavior. In general we are to be wise and spend our time wisely. We are to not be foolish but seek God’s will. Specifically we are not to live in debauchery or out of control, but to be moderate in drinking wine (or other such bevverages). We are to celebrate by being filled with the Spirit. When we are controlled by the Spirit then we will sing and speak psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We will praise God and be very thankful.
Insight – Have you ever gotten lost on a trip? Have you spent hours more in your travel time because you made a wrong turn? Wisdom leads to gratitude in these verses. Wisdom helps us navigate life by following the road map of biblical principles. On the journey, while following this map, we can truly rejoice. If we are wise and are not foolish then our habits of life keep us from many hardships. As a result of a moderate and self-controlled life we can praise God and be thankful. Wisdom is the key. Wisdom helps us know how to conduct ourselves, where to put the breaks on, and how to read the road signs. The contrast is between a wise and self-controlled life vs a foolish and out of control life. Foolish living may produce moments that are funny, but it will not produce joy and gratitude.
Catechism – How are we to live? We are to live, not as unwise people but as wise people.
Prayer – Our Father and God, we thank you for your grace toward us in our foolishness and we ask that you would grant to us Your wisdom so that we may live wisely and not foolishly. Give us self-control and yet joy and gratitude. In Christ’s Name. Amen.